Budgeting and Staff Stress Amid Crises: Insights from COVID-19 Pandemic in Medical Universities of the Iranian Fars Province

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Management and Economics, University of Sistan and Baluchestan, Zahedan, Iran.

2 Assistant Prof., Department of Accounting, Faculty of Economics, Management and Social Sciences, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran.

3 Assistant Prof., Department of Accounting and Fainancial Management, Marvdasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Marvdasht , Iran.

4 MS.c., Department of MBA Management, Apadana Institute of Higher Education, Shiraz, Iran.


Objective: Organizational crisis is defined as an event that threatens the high-priority values of the organization, presents a restricted amount of time to respond, and is unexpected or unanticipated by the organization. The crisis which was caused by Covid-19 had significant effects on employees. During the pandemic, employees were working remotely for longer hours, and dealing with increased uncertainty, worries, and disruptions, all of which could increase career burnout. There was a lack of understanding of the behavioral effects of changes in management control styles in response to global crises. Accordingly, This study aimed to investigate the behavioral consequences resulting from changes in management control practices during crises in budgeting, along with the factors that intensify these consequences.
Methods: This is an exploratory study that uses survey data. It is also a cross-sectional research (in the first semiannual of 2022). The statistical population of this research comprises managers with a minimum of 5 years of managerial experience and 20 subordinate employees, working in medical universities and affiliated hospitals of Fars Province, Iran. In this study, 250 questionnaires were distributed, out of which 127 were collected. Among the collected questionnaires, 99 were deemed usable for analysis. To test the hypotheses of the research, the structural equations modeling approach was used along with SMARTPLS-4 software.
Results: The findings indicated that medical universities in Fars Province enhanced their budgetary controls as a response to the adverse impacts of Covid-19. This demonstrated organizations' adaptability to budgeting changes during global crises. Moreover, intensifying budget controls due to heightened perceptions of ambiguity and role conflict exhibited a positive correlation with emotional exhaustion. Additionally, the results confirmed that the influence of heightened budget controls on role conflict diminishes when managers perceive effective pre-crisis utilization of budget controls.
Conclusion: According to the findings of the present study, the efficient budget design in the pre-crisis era has negative and significant effects on role ambiguity and role conflict. This means that efficient budgets provide beneficial information and more flexibility and also help to resolve conflicting demands. Also, the evidence shows that during crises, efficient budgets reduce the effects of budget controls on role conflict, but do not have any effect on role ambiguity. These findings highlight that managers within public health organizations can effectively manage budget-tightening shocks by leveraging budgeting to foster a deeper comprehension of duties and responsibilities. The enhanced budget controls play a role in mitigating negative behavioral responses stemming from heightened role conflict and emotional exhaustion. Additionally, the outcomes reveal an intriguing aspect of trust in organizational dynamics. While generally advantageous, trust can inadvertently intensify managerial self-imposed pressure to reciprocate, exacerbating issues like role ambiguity and role conflict. However, this does not intensify the effects of tightening budgetary controls on role ambiguity and role conflict. The findings also indicate that the level of trust among subordinates towards their superiors can change in response to heightened role ambiguity and role conflict. When requests come from trusted superiors, individuals are likely to devote greater attention and effort toward achieving expected performance outcomes. Thus, individuals who have high levels of trust in their superiors are more likely to feel pressured to comply with requests even if fulfilling the obligation leads to negative cognitive and affective outcomes. 


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